Morecambe Corrie star’s vow to fight for disabled fund

Cherylee Houston arriving for the 2014 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 22, 2014. See PA story SHOWBIZ Awards. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Cherylee Houston arriving for the 2014 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 22, 2014. See PA story SHOWBIZ Awards. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Coronation Street star Cherylee Houston has slammed the government over the closure of the Independent Living Fund which helped thousands of disabled people across the UK.

The Morecambe actress, who uses a wheelchair, fears disabled people will be left with nothing now the ILF rests with the responsibilty of local authorities.

Cherylee, who plays Izzy Armstrong in the long-running soap, said: “I think it is absolutely terrifying, it is such poor treatment of disabled people.

“Some people’s care will be cut from 12 hours to two hours a day, which means 17,000 people who need support are stuck at home and their care will be reduced.

“It’s so scary – how do you participate in society?

“What’s the future for disabled people?”

It is a terrifying position to be in – to not get any help

Cherylee Houston

The ILF provides money to help disabled people live an independent life in the community rather than in residential care.

From July this year responsibility for supporting ILF users in England passed to local authorities from central government.

Ex-Morecambe High pupil Cherylee said the axe is terrifying: “The local authorities will be asked to take over something when their budget is really stretched, there is no guarantee it will go back to the disabled people, it may well go to holes in the road probably.

“People who are not even incontinent are being told to wear incontinent pants as they are not getting any help from 9pm until the morning.

“It is a terrifying position to be in – to not get any help.

“I believe we will get it back, I don’t see how you can give up on something like this.”

The Independent Living Fund is responsible for providing support, guidance and discretionary cash payments directly to disabled people – these payments allow them to purchase care from an agency or pay the wages of a privately employed personal assistant.

Houston, whose career began at The Dukes theatre in Lancaster, has recently created a video plea to save the fund.

The video features fellow Coronation stars, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Les Dennis as well as people who rely on the fund and sits alongside the 38 degrees petition to overturn the decision to close the fund.

Coun Joshua Brandwood, one of the youngest councillors on Morecambe Town Council, has created an online petition, which has more than 15,000 signatures, to stop the disabled cuts.

County Councillor Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “I can categorically assure people we would never switch money from social care to fund road repairs. Looking after our most vulnerable is number one, and it is insulting to suggest we would do such a thing. We have worked hard to ensure all recipients of the ILF are aware of the changes and the transition will be as smooth as possible.”